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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Russian Evgeniya Kanaeva won gymnastics rhythmic individual all-around Olympic gold


Evgeniya Kanaeva of Russia




Evgeniya Kanaeva of Russia




Evgeniya Kanaeva of Russia performs with ribbon during the individual all-round final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games rhythmic gymnastics event in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. Evgeniya Kanaeva won the gold medal of the event.(Xinhua Photo/Cheng Min)




Evgeniya Kanaeva of Russia


Evgeniya Kanaeva highlighted Russia's dominance in rhythmic gymnastics by taking the individual all-around gold medal at the Beijing Olympics by an impressive 3.575-point margin on Saturday.

The gold medal was the 18-year-old's first Olympic title, and the third Olympic rhythmic individual gold for powerhouse Russia in a row.

The retirement of Athens all-around gold and silver medallist from Russia, Alina Kavaeva and Irina Tchachina, opened the way for their compatriots Kanaeva and Olga Kapranova, and for 2004 bronze medallist Anna Bessonova of Ukraine.

Saturday's rhythmic individual all-around final saw a rivalry among the three and a newcomer, Inna Zhukova from Belarus.

But Kanaeva stood out just too easily, leading all the way through all the four routines of rope, hoop, clubs and ribbon.

The difficulty value of all her four routines exceeded the 9.0 barrier, and she matched her high difficulty with high-standard execution, mesmerizing fans with dazzling swings, circles, tosses, catches and spirals, among other daredevil tricks.

The 2008 European all-around champion who ranked first in qualifications, claimed the title with the highest scores in all her four routines, and a winning combination of 75.500 points.

"I am so happy for myself, for my coach and viewers in the stadium," she said. "I did my best in the competition. I only wanted to follow what my coach told me to do."

She said she was so focused on her performance and did not even notice she was first or not. "I only realized I won the gold medal when I saw the mark on the screen."




Irina Risenzon of Israel competes during the individual all-round final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games rhythmic gymnastics event in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. Irina Risenzon ranked 9th in the event. Irina Risenzon ranked 9th in the event. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)




Inna Zhukova of Belarus




Inna Zhukova of Belarus competes with the hoop during the individual all-round final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games rhythmic gymnastics event in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. Inna Zhukova won the silver medal of the event. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)

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